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Note: Thanks to Ambassador and new North Dakota Department of Commerce Marketing Intern Stacey Loula for sharing her thoughts as a student-transplant to North Dakota. She truly is a “city-slicker,” born and raised, as she grew up in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. She is currently a senior at the University of Mary, majoring in Business Communication with a minor in Public Relations.
By Stacey Loula, North Dakota Ambassador
Why North Dakota of all places? That question is by far one of my favorites. Family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances often ask this one question because I chose North Dakota as a place to better myself and continue my education. Now as a Business Communication and Public Relations senior at the University of Mary, I couldn’t have imagined a better choice.
Two and a half years ago my journey took me to North Dakota. I chose North Dakota because it was something new for me, both culturally and personally. I wanted to expand my horizons, and North Dakota gave me that opportunity. If I look back 5 years ago, I never would have ever thought of Bismarck as a place I would end up or even so much as visit or vacation. I mean what’s so good about North Dakota right? Its winters are treacherous; it’s always super windy, nothing to do, nothing to see, etc. Well, that was then, before my journey of self searching and a need for something more.
I have come to appreciate North Dakota, especially having grown up in the bustling metropolis of Minneapolis. I think that moving to a smaller state, let alone smaller city really makes you appreciate a place like North Dakota. It is a place that prides itself on friendliness, family, togetherness, helpfulness, selflessness and giving. “Home is where the heart is,” and that is exactly the feeling I get from being here. Where I come from it’s all about who has what, how much it costs, and money is what makes the world go around. People tend to lose track of what true happiness is and the important things in life, that’s why I am here and why I love this State; and I think that plays a huge part in why North Dakota is doing so well economically. This state has played their cards right despite the rough economic times, but it definitely shows. Hard work really does pay off.
I have worked very hard to get where I am today and believe me, it was not easy. I feel very liberated and proud of all that I have accomplished thus far in my life. North Dakota is my happy place. My home away from home. No matter how crazy my friends and family think I am for choosing North Dakota, what matters is that I am happy. It’s because of my accomplishments, mistakes, life changing decisions, people I have met, and the friends and family to help guide and support me along the way that have molded me into the person that I am today and I am proud to be that person here in ND.